When I was a lad, I used to ride the bus downtown on Saturdays to the main Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. It's four times bigger today, but even then it was a great library. At some point I was overjoyed to learn there that Sherlock Holmes was more than just nine volumes. The library also had books about the great detective written by people with names like Starrett and Baring-Gould.
Those other books weren't primary sources, but they did help to make me a Sherlockian. Friend and fellow blogger Matt Laffey and I have been musing to each other about our favorite Sherlockians of the past. We decided to each post a list of our top five -- mine here, and Mr. Laffey over at his always1895.net blog. We agreed to two rules for our choices: they have to be real people, and they have to be no longer among the living.
In my case, the first four were mandatory. It was only the fifth that required some internal debate. In each case their accomplishments are many and my descriptions limited:
1. Monsignor Ronald A. Knox. His famous satirical essay, "Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes," virtually launched the Higher Criticism of the Canon, otherwise known as The Game.
2. Christopher Morley. In addition to founding the Baker Street Irregulars in his Saturday Review of Literature column and nominating January 6 as the Master's birthday, he wrote (among dozens of Holmes pieces) "In Memorium: Sherlock Holmes," the peerless introduction to Doubleday's The Complete Sherlock Holmes.
3. Vincent Starrett. An original BSI member, this American man of letters wrote the landmark book, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, as well as perhaps the greatest of all pastiches, "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet."
4. William S. Baring-Gould. His Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, which I first read as a youth, could be legitimately criticized as being too inventive and straying too far from source material. But Baring-Gould's scholarship in creating the original Annotated Sherlock Holmes is beyond quibble.
5. Edgar W. Smith. In a close choice, I round out my five with the first editor of The Baker Street Journal and Profile by Gaslight over one of his successors, Dr. Julian Wolff.
Five is such a small number that I have to add host of honorable mentions in alphabetical order. Perhaps I will detail their achievements another day.
John Dickson Carr
Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay)
Dorothy L. Sayers
More importantly, who are your Fab Five?
Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.